How To Be Green When It’s Lean

The old song that has the line, it’s not easy being green, must have had these hard economic times in mind.  Right now you’re probably not thinking about installing a roof full of solar panels that in the long run would save you lots of money but in the short run cost a lot.  In the short run we all need to be wise about how and what we spend our money on, thinking what is the return and how long will it take to see it.

The Wall Street Journal ran an article today titled How To Go Green In Hard Times by Yuliya Chernova and Sari Krieger.  In there they offer up 10 ideas with how much they will cost as well as the payback time.  Read the article for the full details on how they arrived at their numbers and see if you agree, but here is the short list:

High-Tech Thermostats cost $50-$150, payback about a year.
Smarter Water Heating cost $500-$700 plus $100 for installation, payback around 5 years.
Sealing Air Leaks cost around $20 a door and $10 a window, payback about 2-3 years.
Low-Flow Fixtures cost around $30 for shower head and $2 for a faucet aerators, payback for aerators is almost immediate and shower heads a few months.
Leasing Solar Panels cost anywhere from free to $2000-$5000, payback immediate to a while.
Air Filters cost around $10 for central systems, payback less than a year.
Compact Fluorescent Lights cost about $3 a bulb, payback 3 – 7 ½ months.
Lighting Motion Sensors cost $50-$60, payback under a year.
Window Treatments cost $5- $150 a window, payback just under a year to 4 years.
Attic Insulation cost $500-$700 for an average 2000 sq foot house, payback 1 ½ years.
Also on you can listen to a podcast with Yuliya Chernova discussing some of the energy-saving investments she has found that promise a relatively quick payback.  Read the full Energy report for more information.

What about you?  Do you have any great green tips?  Have you considered planting a garden this year?  For the cost of some seed or plants you can have a supply of fresh veggies all summer long if you plant accordingly.  That means your food would not have to be flown in from other countries and you don’t use the gas to go and purchase it.  Check out Plan Garden for tech ways to figure out what, where, and how to have a garden.

What about really simple things like opening the blinds for light in the room instead of turning on the lights?  Sounds simple but see if you automatically turn on that light.  Are you using cloth napkins instead of paper?  Do you use low electric crockpot or solar ovens to cook in?  What about that free rainwater or compost fertilizer for your garden?  There are so many little things that when added up can make a huge difference.  Many will save you money and our environment.

Please share your lean green ideas with us.  If you have a blog post with ideas please post the link under comments and I would love if you would link back to this post too.  Let’s see how many great ideas we can come up with.

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